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Wolves Trying To Take Advantage Of Short Break

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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The Wolves have played 66 games through March 4, the most of any team in the NBA.

They have a five-day break before hosting the Boston Celtics on Thursday at Target Center.

Minnesota was back at practice on Monday and it’s all about balance this week for coach Tom Thibodeau. 

“It’s the challenge of getting some rest to recharge and getting some work to get ready for what we have going down the stretch here,” Thibodeau said after Monday’s practice.

It’s not very often a team has a five-day break in the middle of the season, but that just goes to show how weird and compacted Minnesota’s schedule has been thus far. 

“It’s unusual,” Thibodeau said. “I can’t ever remember having five days off. It’s good, though. We got bombed pretty good (earlier).”

Stepping Up For Butler 

The Wolves have played four games since Jimmy Butler suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for the foreseeable future.

Starting in place of Butler has been Nemanja Bjelica. 

It’s been an adjustment period for Bjelica, who has played 36.5 minutes per game over the four games and is averaging 10 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from the 3-point line and 83.3 percent from the 3-point line.

Bjelica knows that not one player can replace Butler, but as a team, the Wolves know they need to continue to get added production.

“Of course. I mean, first of all, Wig has to step up like he’s doing. KAT also. Jeff can play more with the ball,” Bjelica said. “ . . .I’m just trying to do my job as a three and some time in the game as a four. We know what we need to do . . . We are in a good spot.”

At 38-28, the Wolves are fifth in the West, a half game back from the third seed and 1.5 games ahead of the eight seed.